Bishop apologises for priest’s anti-gay remarks

Mass-goers allege Father Joseph Okere said those who voted yes in same-sex marriage referendum were ‘devil worshippers’

Bishop Francis Duffy has apologised for comments about the same-sex marriage referendum made by Nigerian priest Father Joseph Okere during Mass in St Mel’s Cathedral, Longford.

The priest’s actual claims were not repeated in Bishop Duffy’s apology but are alleged to have included words to the effect the referendum result was “evidence the devil was at work in Ireland”.

People who were in the congregation on Sunday also alleged Fr Okere said those who voted yes in the referendum were “devil worshippers”. Fr Okere was recently appointed to the parish from from the Missionary Society of St Paul of Nigeria

In his apology, Dr Duffy, Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise, said Fr Okere had been reflecting on the scripture readings of the day which had at their core the theme of marriage.


“The language used caused offence to some people. Father Joseph did not intend to hurt anyone and is sorry for doing so. I too apologise for any insensitivity”.

Longford LGBT expressed regret at the remarks.

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien is an Irish Times journalist